Dutch tomato grower adds cucumbers because of energy crisis

They recently started growing cucumbers at Schenkeveld's Schenkeveld Zijtwende location. Why did they make that decision? That is what Richard Schenkeveld tells us while highlighting their mascot Schenkie who has a new friend: JP. In the cartoon, JP introduces himself, and Richard explains to Maxime van der Schans where the name comes from.

"We recently started growing cucumbers at our Schenkeveld Zijtwende location. We used to grow Piccolo tomatoes there under lighting, but because of the energy crisis, we stopped doing this. Together with the Site and Cultivation Manager of Schenkeveld Zijtwende, we decided to start growing (unlit) cucumbers. It gives this location a nice, new challenge," Richard starts.

Why did you specifically choose cucumbers?
"Cucumbers are a crop that grows very quickly, so we harvest very quickly. In addition, the acreage in the Netherlands, in terms of cucumber cultivation, has decreased somewhat in recent years. We, as Schenkeveld, respond to supply and demand, and the demand for cucumbers is there. In the past, we have already gained some knowledge and experience in cucumber cultivation. In fact, our founders Jan and Peter Schenkeveld, also grew cucumbers"

In the comic strip, we meet JP. Is JP your nickname?
Haha, some people still call me JP sometimes. When I used to work for Jan and Peter, I used to drive the truck to the auction. JP Schenkeveld was written in big letters on this truck. And because I was behind the wheel of the truck so often, people noticed this and associated me with JP. ''Hey, there goes JP again!'' I heard that more than once...

How funny! But who exactly is JP?
A few years ago, we created our mascot Schenkie. He provides a friendly and fun way of communicating internally with us. Since Schenkie often went out on his own, we were looking for another friend for him. With the arrival of cucumbers, the little cucumber man, pictured on the JP truck, came back into the picture. We could see a friend for Schenkie in that. We named him JP (after Jan and Peter) and gave him a little metamorphosis.

Peter with the first cucumbers at the SchenkStore vending machine. He used to grow cucumbers together with Jan himself until 2002. And now they are back.

In the comic, Schenkie and JP talk about Schenkeveld's agility. How do you look at this?
We at Schenkeveld often say we want to ride on the horticultural express train in the back of the front carriage. That is, we don't want to sit in the front of the front carriage and try everything out for the first time, but we want to sit in the back of the front carriage because that's where we see things coming to fruition and we can apply this in the organization.

We turn to supply and demand within the market, and for that, we have good people at the helm, modern techniques, and a good mentality. "Bring it on!"

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming period?
At Schenkeveld, we are playing The Champions League among tomato growers. We like to win and be the best. Our aim is always to be in the top three among tomato growers. In cucumbers, too, we see the challenge in this; again, we want to be among the best. That gives us satisfaction and adrenaline. We will start soon, and I am looking forward to that!

Read the comic featuring Schenkie and JP here.

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